It was a beautiful autumn morning in Langley. From their back patio, Sue and Roy Cline and I looked around. Their seven-acre property, Sparrow Creek Farm as they refer to it, was full of nature. We took in their trees and shrubs, pond, horse, goats, and even the pony rolling in the mud. A persistent bee buzzed around Roy, which seemed odd to me, but later made sense.

Wonderful Nature Stewards

Sue is a retired nurse and Roy a retired physician – admitting to me that one never fully retires from such professions. They are involved in their church’s Climate Action Committee, with Roy also being a member of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. Furthermore, the Clines are active and keen Fraser Valley Conservancy (FVC) Nature Stewards. When they moved to this homestead, they knew how special this slice of nature was. Although their surroundings are becoming more developed, they have had the honour of spotting much wildlife here, including beavers, herons, and eagles. So, when the Clines were introduced to the FVC at the 2018 Abbotsford Agrifair, they saw the possibilities that participating in our Nature Stewards program could bring.

“It has given us a sense of accountability. Every decision we now make regarding the property, we ask ourselves ‘is this being a good nature steward or not?’” – The Clines

Once the Clines had a visit from our Nature Stewards team and joined the program, a habitat enhancement plan was created all together. The recommended activities that we offered to help with in this plan involved removing invasive Himalayan blackberry, planting native trees and shrubs, and establishing a natural buffer around their pond. In February of this year, our Jon and Joelle got to work removing lots of blackberry. They also planted four hundred native plants, including osoberry (formerly known as Indian plum), red-osier dogwood, black twinberry, red elderberry and sweet gale. They came back in September with an excavator to remove even more blackberry. Roy remarked on the surgeon-like abilities of the excavator operator. Another large planting event took place this past November to fill in the cleared area with native plants. The Clines disclosed that there has been some pressure from developers to sell Sparrow Creek Farm. This only adds to their resolve to protect the pond and forest. It has not been easy, though. There have been mud slides onto their property that resulted from an adjacent housing development. Now more than ever, the Clines are doing all they can to help their ecosystem thrive in this built-up landscape.

Christmas Trees for Frogs

Ever since the Clines moved to their farm, Pacific Treefrogs have sung them into spring. This past spring was no different, except that the froggy choir had grown. Roy played me an audio clip where he noted how much louder they were this year. This may be due to the Cline’s hosting our first ever “Christmas Trees for Frogs” event. In January 2022, FVC staff and volunteers prepared donated Christmas trees. The trees were then submerged in key locations along the shore of the Cline’s Pond. Our Project Biologist, Aleesha Switzer, points out that submerged vegetation is used by amphibians to anchor their egg masses to and to hide from predators. This is part of an ongoing research project to see if native amphibians will use these trees to lay their eggs in a pond that was lacking in good breeding habitat. This spring we counted thirteen Pacific Treefrog and twenty-six Northwestern Salamander egg masses in this improved habitat! Sue and Roy watched the Treefrogs grow over the summer. After the frogs emerged from the pond, they took up residence in planters around the Cline’s house.


At the beginning of their Nature Steward’s journey, the Clines dreamt of sharing the beauty of Sparrow Creek Farm with the community. They saw its potential as a place for people to learn, explore and connect with nature. This year their initial dream has come to fruition and late summer they hosted their first Eco-Pilgrimage! This was in collaboration with the Provincial Social and Ecological Justice Group of the Anglican Church and The Parish of St. George, Fort Langley. It included a peaceful walk around the land with ecosystem descriptions and thought-provoking quotes. The walk culminated on their deck with snacks and an animal photography slideshow. The Cline’s Eco-Pilgrimages are building a community of people that care about the environment. Contact the Clines if you’re interested in attending a future Eco-Pilgrimage.

“We hope to make these Eco-Pilgrimages a regular thing, perhaps one for each season.” – Roy Cline

Keeping Beesy

Lately, the Clines have adopted another hobby. Apiculture! Or beekeeping. They have planted wildflowers and sunflowers, which the bees love. Their honey is rich, dark, and chemical-free. An ecological bonus has been that they now seed their lawns with mini clovers instead of grass. Not only do the bees enjoy the clover, but so do the native pollinators. It also requires much less maintenance than grass. Perhaps what the Clines delight in the most from this process is the honey extraction. This step has been messy, as it involves a barrel that acts like a salad spinner. Keeping bees has allowed them to connect with nature in a whole new way.

“Find a place, create a relationship with it and protect it.” – The Clines

Becoming involved in our Nature Stewards program has had a ripple-effect for the Clines and their Sparrow Creek Farm sanctuary. It has helped to support a thriving landscape with plenty of ecosystems for local creatures. It has brought a new environmental awareness to the Clines and their community. We truly enjoy working with them in helping this natural space be all it can be.

Photos by Sue and Roy Cline